Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Brothers to the end. Please end NOW.

Thumping - LOUDLY - off the L.A.Public Library's DVD shelves.

Step Brothers (2008)

Will Ferrell plays yet ANOTHER man-child. So does John C. Reilly.

I used to love Ferrell. His stint on SNL is one of the best. His characters there among the funniest in the series long run. But enough is enough.

In Step Brothers, they play two 40 year old men who still live with their respective single parents (Ferrell with Mary Steenburgen, Reilly with Richard Jenkins). After meeting at a conference the parents decide to marry, so Ferrell and Reilly become step-brothers. Now they not only still live at home, but are forced to even share a room.

My problem with the premise is that I didn't buy it. At all. Ferrell and Reilly were literally acting like 10 year olds, not only in attitudes and language but even down to posture and mannerisms. I felt like I was watching a sketch with two grown men acting like little boys. Tom Hanks did it perfectly in Big, the gold standard, but that was a fantasy. This movie, while also a comedy, is NOT a fantasy.

With Ferrell and Reilly being such morons, it really makes their parents, Steenburgen and Jenkins, look like complete boobs as well. Why would they encourage and nurture such behavior, when they as educated people, know it's wrong on so many levels?

The movie really goes all over the place to try to get laughs, even down to showing Ferrell's "ball sack" - at one point he yanks it out and rubs it all over Reilly's most prized possession, his drums. Vulgar visual humor is very hard to pull off well. When it works you have There's Something About Mary (a classic) and The Hangover (a possible new classic). When it fails you have Van Wilder, Harold and Kumar 2, and the remake of The Heartbreak Kid. To get all professorial for a second, the dick joke in ... About Mary was about more than just showing Ben Stiller's "twig and berries." The physical pain, and all the humiliation that went with it, was nothing compared to the pain of losing Mary that night; they wouldn't see each other again until they were adults. It was funny in and of itself, but it meant something to the story as well. In Step Brothers, Ferrell pulling out his nuts and rubbing the drums meant nothing to the scheme of things. And it wasn't very funny either - he could have easily just licked the drumsticks. Isn't that what a 10 year old boy would do anyway?

I did laugh once, and honestly, at one bit where Ferrell and Reilly are woken up one morning and Ferrell, out of nowhere, utters, "I'll punch you in the face, Leonard Nimoy." That was a great ad lib, but it has nothing to do with anything.

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